Featured Testimonial About Creighton University
Over the years, my erroneous taking has become embarrassing and burdensome, but hopefully partially corrected by returning the piece to Omaha for reattachment.
By Micah Mertes
School of Law Dean Joshua Fershée recently received a peculiar piece of mail. A package with no return address, containing an apology letter, a $300 money order and a piece of wood.
The letter …
“Dear Dean Fershée,
I am returning in this box to you/Creighton Law School a piece of the Moot Court Bench, which I pocketed as a memento in 1973, the year I graduated.
The piece apparently had become unglued, was separated from the bench and placed on top of the bench before my involuntary bailment. Over the years, my erroneous taking has become embarrassing and burdensome, but hopefully partially corrected by returning the piece to Omaha for reattachment.
I am enclosing with this letter a money order of $300 payable to Creighton to secure the cleaning, resurfacing and reattachment of the piece to the bench. Cheers!
Whoever you are, mystery alum of 1973, Dean Fershée wants you to know he’s grateful for the piece of wood’s return. Also, no hard feelings.
Yes, Fershée says, “we’ve got some quirky stories in the law school.”
The antique bench itself has a pretty wild history. (Of course it does. This is Creighton.) Here’s the legend of the cherrywood bench …
The bench dates back to 1885, when it was built for the original Douglas County Courthouse, Courtroom Number One. Built at a cost of $6,700, the ornate bench made the courtroom one of the “most attractive and inspiring” in the nation, read one newspaper from the time.
That bench was the pride and joy of presiding judge Lee Estelle, who was later a Creighton law faculty member. (He was also, by the way, the judge who oversaw the case made world-famous by a Jesuit astronomer.) Estelle judged many sensational murder trials from that bench. He had even witnessed the bench’s birth.
In 1885, Estelle watched as the carpenter made it. Several years later, that same carpenter stood before Estelle (and the bench), charged with manslaughter. The man was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In 1913, the cherrywood bench retired from active duty and came to Creighton’s School of Law (opened in 1904). The bench — a longtime school icon — has followed the law school with every move since, and today resides in the Ahmanson Law Center’s Doyle Appellate Courtroom.
Now, thanks to an alum’s guilty conscience, the cherrywood bench is once again whole. Order in the court restored.